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Friday, 6 July 2012

The end of ideological trench warfare – How the Euro-Crisis has set an end to political ideologies


Did you notice something? Since the beginning of the Euro-Crisis, and with the discussion about political and fiscal union getting more on the top of the EU policy agenda, political ideologists have remained conspicuously silent.

In a time where the liberal market system of the European Union is facing its imminent failure and the EMU is on the brink of collapse, you could imagine anti-capitalist movements to rise rapidly, from the left-wingers as well as from the right-wingers. All cities should be full of anti-capitalist rallies, socialist and communist parties are supposed to mobilise the masses against the class enemy, increasing poverty and economic decline in the southern European states should erupt into revolution like chaos or even civil war like violence. The ingredients are ideal for history to repeat itself in a perfect manner, if we compare the current situation with the circumstances of the Great Depression of the late 1920ies and its aftermath leading to global economic downturns and the rise of communism and fascism all over the world, and finding a climax in the outbreak of World War II.

But it doesn’t. History is not really repeating itself. There is no revival of communist or socialist “revolution”, neither in Europe, nor in the USA, nor somewhere else; neither the fascist are on the move, there is not even a fundamental discussion about the obvious failures of capitalism per se, which would be a key point of any globalization or capitalism critic.

Why is that so?

The Greek elections a few weeks ago have shown that neither the communists, nor the fascists had any significant or even helpful strategies against the Euro-Crisis, and that their notorious anti-EU tirades did not apply to serious alternatives in the view of Greece’s overall situation on the very abyss to economic, social, and political collapse. Greece’s demise would have also meant Europe’s downfall. The Greek people were sincere and sensitive enough not to run for a radical way, but to go the rocky, painful but yet necessary path of austerity and tough economic reforms.

So do most of Europe’s political parties. Although the German austerity programme is being mostly rejected – most of all by Italy, France, and Greece, all actors are aware that there is no alternative to the EU and the Euro; and if there was an alternative, it would lead to an even more severe economic crisis, specifically in the case of one or more member states dropping out of the Euro-Zone. Sure, the vaguely articulated plans for a European bank union does not imply any useful solution and would lead to an even higher costs burden for Germany, according to leading German economists Hans-Werner Sinn.

Together with more than 170 of his colleagues, Sinn has formulated a plea against the European governments’ plans for a bank union and receives support from the conservative, as well as from the left-wing biases. This broad consensus is an indication that the Euro-Crisis does not call for ideological solutions, but for pragmatic and feasible ideas. However, the more than 170 economists do not make any useful statement on an alternative to the current plans of our leading EU decision makers; and this plea was instantly blamed for panic mongering.

It is a remarkable step in history, specifically in European history that nearly all political ideological camps agree on the need for a common solution of the Euro-Crisis, without attempting to rekindle the ancient tradition of class fights or even revolution-like mass rallies which might possibly lead to violent eruptions or even civil war. Maybe even the toughest hard core ideologists from left and right have finally realized the current reality and have learned the lessons from the past, that any redundant behaviour and action from the past will lead to the same disasters and atrocities as those Europe has been forced to go through until the first half of the 20th century.

Let’s hope it remains like that.

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